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Laura Thompson, PhD named Girl Scouts of Maine’s 2018 Woman of Distinction


Girl Scouts of Maine proudly announces that Dr. Laura Thompson, Director of Sustainable Development & Policy Initiatives at Sappi North America, will be honored at the 21st Annual Women of Distinction Gala on December 7, 2017, at The Westin Portland Harborview hotel.
The Women of Distinction Gala is an annual event that celebrates women whose individual excellence and high levels of achievement distinguish them as outstanding members of their communities and exemplary role models for today's girls.

“For 105 years, Girl Scouts has helped shape girls aspirations and confidence in areas that need more female leadership,” said Joanne Crepeau, CEO, Girl Scouts of Maine. “Women are particularly underrepresented in STEM fields and Girl Scouts has programs committed to increasing girls’ interests and abilities in these disciplines. Exposure to STEM professionals has real impact on girls especially when they see women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This is why we are thrilled to honor Laura Thompson, whose professional pursuit and many accomplishments make her a perfect role model for women, of any age, today. Girl Scouts encourages girls to make a difference in the world and Laura is certainly doing that.”

Director of Sustainable Development & Policy Initiatives, Thompson is responsible for working with Sappi’s leadership to set strategy, establish long term goals and drive key initiatives, enabling the company to be recognized as a leader in sustainability. She also serves as an industry and academic thought-leader. Whether it is eco-labeling, life cycle analysis, sustainable forestry or greenhouse gas emissions, Thompson presents information grounded in facts and science, in a voice that is unparalleled in the pulp and paper industry.

Thompson has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire and an MS and PhD in Paper Science from the Institute of Paper Science and Technology. Since 1995, she has held a variety of positions within the paper industry including research, mill environmental, product development, marketing, and for the past 10 years, sustainable development. Thompson participates on boards and committees for the American Forest and Paper Association, TwoSides US Sustainability Committee and the environmental non-profits, GreenBlue and The Recycling Partnership. She continues support to her alma mater as a judge for the UNH Social Innovation Challenge and as a member of the Environmental Engineering Advisory Group.

Since stepping into her role, Sappi has been recognized for numerous sustainability awards from several associations and customers, and in 2014 Thompson was awarded the 2014 William D Schaeffer Environmental Award by the Printing Industries of America.

Outside of work, Thompson routinely volunteers her time in the local community with educational outreach and mentorship for various programs including the Codman Academy Charter School in Dorchester, MA, supporting the Living Land and Waters mission to clean up the nation’s rivers, and the ongoing partnership with the Green Neighbor Fest/Urban-Run-off 5k in Portland.

Thompson and her partner Wendy divide their time between Portland and Boston.

The Women of Distinction Gala will be held on December 7, 2017. For more information, visit For information about sponsorships, contact Darcy Foerster at or call 772-1177.